Bulgaria is a gardening nation. It is considered that Bulgarian master-gardeners are the ones who developed gardening in most of Europe and all the way to Australia when they started migrating and emigrating in the 19th Century.
Actually, I was excited to learn that permaculture is the normal way gardening has been practice for ages. The term permaculture is only used by younger, English speaking Bulgarians so if you ask a 50-something seasoned gardener what it meant he wouldn't understand you but look at the way he works his garden and you will know. He and the land are one.
So, let's look at garden work and how Bulgarians ensure the high quality of their heirloom seeds. I highly doubt they use anything different than heirloom seeds. They simply store the seeds for the next two years and share or exchange them with neighbors.
Collecting heirloom seeds Bulgarian style
As with all fruit and vegetables whose seeds you want to collect, make sure the peppers are fully ripe. Cut the top of the pepper and carefully remove the core with the seeds on it.
Spread out to dry. If you have different sorts or colors of peppers you'd better divide them while you still have some visible proof of color. Leave them to dry completely in the sun. This should take a couple of days.
When the pepper seeds are dry enough they will fall off the core very easily when you touch them.
Pick your best ripe tomatoes and let them sit in the sun until they get soft. Then squash them in a container with your bare hands.
Clean the skin and rinse with water. Then use a strainer to separate the seeds from the water. Let them dry in the sun.
Don't harvest a couple of leeks and let them form blossoms. Before cutting the blossoms off make sure there are seeds inside. Let them dry in the sun and store them in a textile bag.
Storing heirloom seeds Bulgarian style
When your seeds are dry enough (you can tell they are by touching them) transfer them to mason jars with holes on the lids. The holes are made so the seeds can breathe. They shouldn't be too large to prevent insects from coming in.
Alternatively, you can store your seeds in paper envelopes or bags.
Keep your seeds in a cool and dry place.
To prevent mold on all types of bean seeds you collect, add a couple of tablespoons of clean wood ashes that will absorb any eventual moisture.
|Pictured here are: broad beans (top image) and black beans (bottom image) harvested in 2013|
|The note says: [planted] September 10th., seeds from 2012.|
How do you collect and store heirloom seeds? Share your experience in the comments!
If you haven't heard, we just moved from Norway to Bulgaria for a year. Follow our adventure in simple living here.